Archive for August 9, 2014

The Criminologist

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , on August 9, 2014 by dcairns


A vaguely interesting early talker — Christie Cabanne’s CONSPIRACY. Brief but good location stuff, A Radio Picture (no RKO). Shot by Nick Musuraca who must’ve worked for that outfit his whole puff (later, CAT PEOPLE, OUT OF THE PAST). Starring Bessie Love and — top-billed! — Ned Sparks!

Stagy and stodgy most of the time and uneven perfs to put it mildly. But to break up the play they’re adapting, the screenwriters insert flashbacks to bring the offscreen action onscreen, and thus add a little exciting fire escape action.

I’m not inclined to give Cabanne too much credit, but he was a highly-paid pro in the teens. By the thirties he was slipping and never recovered.

Bessie is her usual sweet self, Sparks is fun, playing much older than his real age — but he can’t stop smiling. It’s like he’s inviting the audience to laugh along with him, and maybe this worked on the stage. He must have seen how it looked on film and resolved never to repeat the mistake.

Don’t know Sparks? Here’s a helpful primer ~